Who Owns The Land?

Karl Davies karl at daviesand.com
Fri Feb 18 06:47:06 EST 2000

Posted to alt.forestry and bionet.agroforestry, cc'd to saf-news and

NYDEC recently received SmartWood certification for state forest lands.
Now it turns out they've been trespassing on a significant portion of
that land.  I wonder how much other state and national forest land will
turn out to really belong to someone else?

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Cayuga Indian Nation To Get $37M

By WILLIAM KATES Associated Press Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- A federal jury recommended
Thursday that the Cayuga Indian Nation receive $36.9
million for lost ancestral lands, a figure a lawyer
for the tribe called ridiculously low.

The decision was one step toward settling a
long-standing dispute over how much the Cayugas should
get for 64,015 acres in upstate New York that the
state has had for 204 years. U.S. District Judge Neal
McCurn will actually decide the payment.

In 1994, McCurn ruled that New York illegally acquired
the land in 1795 and 1807 by purchasing it from the
Cayugas without the federal government's required

Clint Halftown, a spokesman for the Cayugas, said the
tribe had expected at least $100 million for its lost

``We have always said this was not about money,''
Halftown said. ``So we have a little less to buy back
our land, to begin rebuilding our nation. It is enough
to start.''

Tribe attorney Martin Gold was far more critical of
the the jury's decision. ``It's ridiculous,'' he said.
``Apparently nine people didn't pay attention to the

The suggested award was well below the $335 million --
including $70 million in back rent -- an appraiser for
the federal government told the jury the tribe
deserved. But an appraiser for the state testified
that the land was worth no more than $51 million.

Assistant state Attorney General David Roberts
applauded the jury's recommendation. ``This is an
outcome that was better than the alternatives. But
it's just one step,'' Roberts said.

The jury had to decide a present-day market value as
well as the land's rental worth for each year from
1796 to the present. The award consisted of a rental
value of $1.9 million -- $17,156.86 per year minus
past payments and compensation already paid by the
state. They determined the current market value of the
land to be $35 million.

A second non-jury trial will determine ``equitable
factors,'' such as interest on the back rent and
deductions for public infrastructure.

About 500 Cayugas live in western New York on and
around the Seneca's Cattaraugus reservation. Two other
larger groups of Cayugas, who also are party to the
claim, live in Canada and Oklahoma.


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